Mark Barenberg

Mark Barenberg

  • Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law

J.D., Harvard Law School, 1982
M.Sc., London School of Economics, 1978
B.A., Harvard College, 1977

Areas of Specialty

Labor and Employment Law
International Labor Rights
Constitutional Law
Global Economic Institutions
Legal and Political Theory

Mark Barenberg, whose work centers on workers rights and corporate social responsibility, is an expert in the fields of labor and employment law, international labor rights, global economic institutions, constitutional law, and legal-political theory. He has served as an adviser to the administration of President Barack Obama on issues of labor and trade, and as an independent expert for the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency. 

Barenberg has drafted many statutes at the national, state, and local levels and served as an adviser to workers rights’ organizations across the country. He is on the Advisory Council of the Worker Rights Consortium, an independent labor rights monitoring organization. In 2015, his report outlining proposals for legal reforms to facilitate organizing and striking across multiple employers was part of a labor agenda from the Future of Work Project, a collaboration between the Roosevelt Institute and the Columbia Program on Labor Law and Policy.

Barenberg sits on the board of directors of the Columbia Summer Program in American Law, held in the Netherlands, and teaches in the program annually. He is on the advisory board of the Law School’s Center for Institutional and Social Change. He teaches constitutional law and labor law, and his seminar “Labor Rights in a Global Economy” examines such issues as the relationship of labor rights to political regimes and trading systems.


  • “Toward a Democratic Model of Private Labour Monitoring,” (B. Bercusson and C. Estlund, eds.), Regulating Labour in the Wake of Globalisation, Hart, 2008
  • “Legitimacy and Capacity in Private Labor Monitoring,” (Jeffrey Hirsch, ed.), Proceedings of NYU 57th Annual Conference on Labor, 2008
  • “Corporate Social Responsibility and Labor Rights in US-Based Corporations,” (M. Feher, ed.), Non-Governmental Politics, MIT, 2007
  • “The Impact of the Free Trade Area of the Americas on Democratic Governance,” (Dani Rodrik, et al., eds.), The FTAA and Beyond: Prospects for Integration in the Americas, Harvard University Press, 2004
  • “Workers: The Past and Future of Labor Law Scholarship,” (M. Tushnet and P. Crane, eds.), Oxford Handbook of Legal Scholarship, 2003
  • “Enforcement of International Labor Rights In United States Law,” Comparative Law and Politics Review, 2002
  • “Private Monitoring of Labor Rights in Global Supply Chains: Indonesia, Mexico, and the United States, Worker Rights Consortium Reports,” 2001–2002
  • “Coordinated Decentralization in Supranational Labor Regimes: Lessons from U.S. Labor Federalism,” (D. Esty and D. Geradin, eds.), Regulatory Competition and Economic Integration: Comparative Perspectives, Oxford University Press, 2001
  • “Labor Federalism in the United States: Lessons for International Labor Rights,” 3 Journal of International Economic Law 303, 2000
  • “Constitutional Constraints on Redistribution,” Columbia Journal of European Law, 1999
  • “A Critical Mapping of the Law of ‘Social Dumping’: Lessons from U.S. Federalism,” 1996
  • “Democracy and Domination in Labor Law: From Bureaucratic to Flexible Production,” 94 Columbia Law Review 753, 1994
  • “The Political Economy of the Wagner Act: Power, Symbol, and Workplace Cooperation,” 106 Harvard Law Review 1379, 1993

Remarks and Testimony

  • “Corporate Social Responsibility in the U.S.: Effectiveness and Legitimacy,” European University Institute, March 2009
  • “Can Private Experimentation Reinvigorate Public Regulation? The Case of U.S. Labor and Employment Law,” European University Institute, March 2009
  • “Labor Rights or Human Rights? Conceptual Frameworks,” Columbia Law School, February 2009
  • “An Institutional Architecture for Bilateral, Regional, and Multilateral Enforcement of Labor Rights,” Economic Policy Institute, February 2008
  • “International and Domestic Constraints on State and Local Sweatfree Ordinances,” Columbia Law School, April 2007
  • “The Privatized Fight for Workers’ Free Association,” Columbia Law School, February 2006
  • “Monitoring Systems to Enforce Wage and Hour Settlements,” Columbia Law School, February 2005
  • “International Governance: Global Labor Rights,” Columbia Law School, January 2004
  • “Labor Rights in Trade Agreements: The US-Cambodia Bilateral Agreement, Appel Conference on Regulation of Foreign Direct Investment,” Columbia Law School, March 2003
  • “Transnational Regulatory Networks: Labor Rights,” University of Zurich, December 2003
  • “The Impact of the Free Trade Area of the Americas on Hemispheric Governance,” Harvard University and Inter-American Development Bank, June and December, 2002
  • “Emerging Forms of International Labor Regulation,” Columbia University Seminar on Globalization and Social Movements, October 2002
  • “Public and Private Mechanisms for Promoting International Labor Rights,” Commission on International Labor Rights, Geneva, January 2002
  • “Labor Rights as Human Rights,” University of Amsterdam, July 2001
  • “Engaging Corporations in Dialogue on Human Rights,” Harvard University, June 2001

Professional Experience

  • European University Institute, Summer 1999; Yale Law School, Spring 1997 and Fall 1997; Peking University, Fall 1995
  • Eugene H. Nickerson, Department of Justice, Eastern District of New York, 1982–1983

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